What’s Happening?

Introducing our newest family member – Oakley (who doesn’t like her picture taken!) She is quite the lady and has started learning the skills of country life.

 

We like our birds!!!! A small showing of our “regulars”.

 

Hoop house growing! The spinach and cabbage remain delicious!

 

Let’s not forget Miss Kitty, our tomato transplant supervisor. As quick as the transplants were re-potted, she would playfully paw them out of the pot. She is a very curious kitty!!

 

Papa presenting at the Wabash Valley  Master Gardener Spring Conference in Terre Haute, Indiana. The topic , “Starting a Seed Saving Garden”. This wonderful group of dedicated Master Gardeners is very active in their community. Kudos to all your community service projects!!

Wabash Valley Master Gardeners

 

Spring  flowers are cheerful! It is a delight seeing colors once again! Real “eye candy” for the soul.

 

Papa

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Time to Prepare, Time to Sow!

It’s the season to start your spring Cole (Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, etc.) and cool season perennial seedlings for transplant. We have snow predicted for today in the Missouri Ozarks. Sounds like a great day to start seeds for March transplants.

Using clean flats and cell trays filled with soil-less potting mix and compost, plant 2 to 3 seeds per cell about 1/4 inch deep. Make sure to label the cell packs or small pots with the date and variety of plant.

Gently water the flats (We don’t want to wash out the seed!). Allow water to thoroughly wet the entire soil profile. Once the water has drained, you may now start to sow the seeds.

I place my seed and cell flats in an environmental chamber constructed from a shelving unit, thermostatically controlled electric heat mats and artificial lights. With this station, the perfect germination temperature and light requirements are met. In addition, plastic domes are a great way to create a humid atmosphere to enhance germination.

Usually cool season transplants require 4 to 6 weeks to reach the proper level of maturity to plant in the ground or other container.

This topic will be continued in the near future!

By the way, I will be attending and presenting at the 2016 Missouri Organic Association Annual Conference in Springfield, MO. The conference dates are February 4 – 6.

2016 Annual MOA Conference

See you there!

Papa

 

Calling All Organic Gardeners and Producers!!

February 4th through the 6th is the 2016 Missouri Organic Association Annual Conference, University Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, Springfield MO. Those attending will be from Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee and Kansas.

University Plaza

2016 MOA Annual Conference

The topics will include: Grain production, Livestock production, Commercial  Vegetable production, High-tunnel small fruits and vegetable production, Sustainable living skills, Culinary and medicinal plants, and a whole lot more!

The “Top Chef competition”, featuring 6 of the premier chefs from St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia, scheduled for Friday, February the 5th, is by now a tradition of the MOA Conference.

One of the surprises prepared for this year is the “Consumer Health Education Seminary”, scheduled for Saturday, February 6th and open to the general public. The discussion will focus on organic foods and their connection to a healthy diet and balanced nutrition. The session will be presented by dietitians and medical physicians and will include definitions and discussion regarding “health food terminology”. Our guests will learn about the difference between organic, non-GMO, natural foods, free range, cage free, etc.

I will be one of the speakers on Thursday, February 4th. My topic will be “Making a Seed Saving Garden” from 11 am to 12 pm.

2016 MOA Annual Conference

This will be my third year attending this incredible conference. This is a well organized conference including friendly vendors and volunteers, relevant topics of the day, organic meals as well as a beautiful conference center and hotel with free parking.

Hope to see you there!!

Papa

Seed Saving Tip

Have you saved seed from your vegetable garden or traded for seed during a seed swap? Have you provided space for them in your spring garden?

Here’s a tip worth your consideration. Find those seeds and start germination testing. Why? Germination of 50% or below should send you to your 2016 seed catalogs for replacements. Doing this now insures you will find the replacements available instead of “out of stock”.

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Save time and money as a low germination rate will require double the seed sown for an expected yield.

An easy technique for germination:

  • Gather paper towels and zip-lock bags
  • Moisten the paper towel
  • For large seeds a minimum of 10 seeds ( ie.: watermelon, gourd, winter squash, summer squash, sunflower, pumpkin, beans, peas)
  • For small seeds a minimum of 25 seeds ( ie.: eggplant, sweet pepper, hot pepper, tomato, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, spinach)
  • Place seed in moistened towel with spacing between seeds and fold towel in half. Be sure to label the bag with the seed name.
  • Place in zip-lock bag and seal.
  • Place the zip-lock bag in a warm place providing temperatures of 70-85 degrees.
  • Check the bag every 3-5 days for signs of germination.The seed coat should be bursting and either a plant shoot should be on the top of the seed and/or a root on the opposite end.
  • All the seeds in the bag should germinate at the same rate of time for the seed type.germination600
  • A 50% germination rate for 10 seeds would be 5 seeds.
  • A 50% germination rate for 25 seeds would be 13 seeds.

Any questions? Do not hesitate to contact me!!

Papa

 

A Summer Stroll at Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company

If you are ever near Springfield or Branson, Missouri, you should check out Bakersville Pioneer Village. Home of the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, it offers an amazing Seed Store with over 1700 varieties of heirloom, hard to find seeds, gardening books, hand made items from the local Amish community, and items found in an old time Mercantile.

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There are monthly festivals the first Sunday of each month (March through October) featuring local produce and herbs, Blue Grass and old time country music from local musicians and artisans selling home made soaps, jewelry, quilts and various crafts.

I often speak about Seed Starting or some aspect of gardening in the theater.

The next festival is coming up Sunday, September 6, 2015.

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The hotel is open as an eatery offering vegan cuisine from produce grown at Baker Creek by our Chef Quintin Eason.

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Enjoy strolling through the gardens of this quaint little “town” and enjoy the flowers in their full summer bloom.

Stop by the Flour Mill (Friday and Sunday) to get the best cinnamon bun you have ever eaten!

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Make sure you stop by the Seed Store and say Hey!

Papa

Decisions, Decisions Buying Packs of Seed!

You’re poring over your seed catalog, looking at seed online or better yet choosing your seed in the seed store. Hopefully, you’ve narrowed your choices. Making a list is a wise way to finally make your decision.

Let’s see what the seed packet says. The description should entice you to consider your options.

  • Title of pack – the variety and color
  • Catalog number, Lot number, amount of seed, cost, sell by date
  • Days to maturity –
    • Direct sowing of  seeds- days from the time you sow the seeds to the time of harvest. i.e. – beets, carrots, beans, peas, kale, lettuce, borage, dill, zinnia, sunflower
    • Transplants from germinated seed – days from time of transplanting into garden to the time of harvest. i.e. – cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, tomato, pepper, eggplant, basil, thyme, petunia, snapdragon
  • A more detailed description of variety – color, height/length, weight, health benefit and overall appeal.
  • Detailed planting instructions – seasons for sowing, planting depth, seedling care, possible succession planting (timed, multiple sowing), soil requirements, temperature requirements, moisture requirements.
  • Seed company – pertinent company information

Happy Planting!!!!!

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